Thursday, November 25, 2010

My Creative Space: SIT!

It seems most anything I touch these days, morphs into a cushion. I’m going through some sort of phase. Fear not, I sense it’s nearly ended. The ‘Thing’ I was pottering around with over the weekend is now seated on the sofa. Although the Thing Cushion is about the most unsnuggly something you could hope to cuddle up to. Despite a wash, that linen needs living in for a while. It needs to put it’s feet up and relax. At the moment it’s coming over all uptight, edge-of-seat, arty farty.

The back of the Thing Cushion is more of the same screenprinted disaster remnants, only in strips. I like strips, because they aren’t all ’round symmetrical like squares are. This is also why I have three children (because two girls and a boy is not symmetrical). If I had a fourth child, there’s a danger things wouldn’t feel right until we had five. Best stick with rectangular cushion strips.

Half of me likes the back better.

And that screenprinted hand I was playing around with a couple of weeks ago? Just another excuse for cushioned sofa sitting. And signage. There’s also a signage phase happening. A wee while ago I came dangerously close to cross stitching that male/female toilet symbol on a cushion. Hmn.

Enough chitter chatter. SIT!

Have a cup of tea, stay awhile.






Righto then. Time to GO!

Are you playing today? My Creative Space, hosted by Kirst.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Bags, Bags, Bags (and ‘Hambags’)

Now that I refer to the archives, I see that one year and one day ago, I posted on the first bag I bought from Kylie. It was intended as a Christmas gift for a good friend. Just before Christmas, when the good friend was admiring MY bag, I, with the perpetual foot-in-mouth, replied ‘I know! And it was almost yours!’. In an attempt to make amends, I suggested to Kylie that I would love to buy any she would be happy to make – for this Christmas. Blimey, she came up trumps.

With an entirely free-range, I Have Absolute Faith, brief from me, Kylie produced four original bags using durable fabrics and incorporating her own funky, screenprinted Atomic design. They are sturdy, roomy, beautifully finished and there’s an occasional sweet detail – damn, does this lady know detail...

Because I know how important it is to aim handmade in the right direction (what with all that heart and soul worked into the stitchery), I reckon I’m going to develop a ten point checklist. Which recipient is going to notice/appreciate/use the most? I’m not saying I’m rigging any outcome here, but it seems I top the list every time. In the interests of the appreciation of handmade, I reckon one of these bags might have taken up permanent residence on a hook in our hallway.

Oh. This is the resident Bag Lady. Here she is being ‘growed-ed up’, carrying ‘her hambags’. Slow down, kid.

PS. There’s a whole lot of lovely to be found in Kylie’s shop, but, um, there aren’t any bags. You should email her (via her blog), ask her nicely, see what she says...

Sunday, November 21, 2010

This Thing I Made

Without meaning to come over melodramatic, how did I breathe before I started making? With shame I admit, nary a piece of literature has held the attention of this bookworm-in-a-past-life. Not since a Google search four years ago: Knitting-Cast-On-How-To. But what was the passion or the thing that made me do mini victory dances, or rant a mile-long string of swear words when things went to hell in a handbasket? Not a clue, although I was much better at sitting still and giving over to a movie without the crafty multi-tasking. Much better at getting out and exercising (simultaneous crosstrainer and cross stitch anyone?).

I’m spluttering this all out with a quickened pulse, because I’m still on a high from the Thing I made last night. It started out as screenprinted, tea towel, mini-catastrophes, which I have had my eye on for some time. I was vaguely aiming at a Cushion Thing (because, let’s face it, a Quilt Thing is way too much commitment) and I had Rosalie Gascoigne wafting around in the back of my mind. Which is embarrassing to type, for I am no Rosalie but her work has always made my heart go thumpety thump.

It was all quick and speedy and thrown together and then edited a bit and then accidentally mixed up again but I didn’t care and the thing that excites me ever so much, is that I am SO excited, that whatever this Thing, this Scrap of Textures Thing is, it makes me want to sing with hundreds of exclamation marks!!!

I just typed a whopping three exclamation marks and you’ll just have to let your imagination run WILD for the rest.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Just Call Me Miss November...

Since the WhipUp 2011 calendar was released I have been swanning about the house posing for imaginary photographers and threatening to don a bikini. Then I had a rethink. Probably best to keep the three-time-pregnant, battle-weary bod under wraps and let the Fly do the calendar talkin’.

Fly is in fabulously talented company. The calendar is filled with eleven months of pure EYE CANDY and then there’s a whopping, unsavoury, french-knotted insect. Comfort yourself knowing November could have been me in a bikini.

You can download or order a printed version of your very own WhipUp 2011 calendar, right HERE.


PS. My buddies Jo and Lisa, have talked me into doing the markety thing tonight. The Beaumaris Artists Market is on from 4pm to 8pm, has a fabulous twilight vibe and it’s where you can buy real ARTY stuff. You can also buy flash-in-the-pan crafty bits and bobs from me (whereas Jo will be selling ART). Or you could mosey on by for a natter – and help me chase my stuff (it’s outdoors and I’m yet to acknowledge any concept involving wind).

Thursday, November 18, 2010

My Creative Space: ‘Baby Let Your Hair Hang Down’

One recent night, I was lying in bed on the cusp of sleep, when I had a blindingly brilliant, sit-bolt-upright, bobby dazzler of an idea. The origins of such bolt upright, bobby be-dazzlement, was prompted by an earlier pondering, over cushions for the sofa. As well as a discussion over the benefits of amplified music, throughout the school, to alert a pending bell. Nothing like the dulcet tones of a frenetic folk dance to launch a school morning.

When I was at primary school, there were two songs that were played before the bell finally tolled: I Don’t Like Mondays, (always played on Mondays) and Dr Hook’s 1977 hit, Walk Right In. To think, these days, schools resort to the dulcet tones of a frenetic folk dance (or, shock! a plain old bell).

So anyway, I’m in bed, the mind is wondering and then I’m chortling, then chuckling – hard enough to do one or two of those involuntary nose snort things. I am so hilarious. Except you probably had to be there. Except the Mr was there, sleeping right beside me and he didn’t think it was that funny. He whimpered. He rolled over.

Instead of relegating the notion to the dumb idea bin, for weeks I’d been sitting in traffic, or chopping carrots or hanging washing and I’d think of my Brilliant Idea and I’d grin. Widely. Sometimes I’d snigger.

So, damn it, I made that cushion. Just for me. To make me grin. And also so I could have a stab at properly learning (a not quite proper but fabulous) sort of stem stitch.

Then I covered all my bases. Just in case a prim sort of granny comes a’calling and maybe letting one’s hair down is all a bit risqué. When a prim sort of granny comes for iced tea and cucumber sandwiches, I’ll flip the cushion and we’ll get knitting.


PS. I’d always fudged the zipper insertion before – with varied success (due to habitual ad hoc approach). This time I followed the first steps of Amy’s clear-as-day tute and lo! now I can do a reliably fabuloso cushioned zip thingy.

PPS. That lady who knows how to teach a sort of stem stitch? She’s also the My Creative Space hostess with the mostess...

PPPS. Here are those Dr Hook and Boomtown Rats links again. Just in case you missed ’em the first time.

PPPPS. My granny is not prim and does fabulous letting-hair-hang-down.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Getting One’s Act Together (Twice)

Getting One’s Act Together #1
Last year, I signed up to craft a Softie for Mirabel and cut things so fine on the deadline front, that I arrived at the post office half a minute before closing time, which required a nauseating grovel to the Rude and Obnoxious Newsagent/Post Office Man* for an express post envelope. This year, I have not signed up to Softies for Mirabel. This is because I have developed a theory that my To Do list has become an exercise in reverse psychology.

Consequently, some of last weekend was spent coming over all footloose and fancy free starting yet another project not on the To Do list. As the lucky duck winner of Clare’s Toys to Sew book giveaway, (thanks so much, excellent Clare), I was prompted to craft a stegosaurus – only with an extra, accidental, not-on-the-pattern, left leg. Not wanting to waste said leg, I produced the co-ordinating remainder of a second stegosaurus. This all means, that in a series of clever and elegant manoueuvres, I have outwitted myself with reverse-reverse psychology. A Softie for Mirabel, sans speedy postal requirements (signing up any tick of the clock now) AND a kid birthday present crossed off that To Do List.

Getting One’s Act Together #2

This is the smallest, having a wild time chatting to her two imaginary friends, Neenie and Sophie. On this occasion the kid is using a well and truly defunct home phone and a TV remote that somebody donated for the chatting-to-imaginary-friend cause. With a little creativity, who needs a mobile phone?

Certainly, who needs an old, non-functioning, communing-with-dust-bunnies mobile phone? The recycling of mobile phones can make a big difference for young Australians suffering from cancer. Basically you’re turning trash into funding which goes toward the building of specialised youth cancer treatment centres.

All you need do is pop over to to request a Reply Paid mobile phone recycling envelope (and for loads more info). Redundant mobile phones can also be dropped into You Can bins located in a range of retailers Australia-wide: Sony Centre, Best & Less, Harvey Norman and Leading Edge Computers.

Oh and you can sign up to Softies for Mirabel right here, over at Pip’s. This act-getting-together thing feels pretty good.


* entirely irrelevant

Monday, November 15, 2010

Eighty Stitches

As it turns out, when you lose track of your pattern because you’ve been knitting on the run for days and then you tack on EIGHTY stitches, willy nilly, into the fifth last row of the bodice section of an Olearia, you do sort of notice. Not that I thought you wouldn’t. Look closely. At the exuberantly gathered third gather section bit. Ahem.

In a previous lifetime I would have ripped it all back and started again. Lately I’ve decided life is too short. Instead the kid is under strict instruction to keep moving, to make like a blur, so nobody notices.

Which apparently really works, because until we saw the pics, neither of us noticed that the kid was blurring about on the trampoline, wearing an Olearia inside out.

So here you have an Olearia inside out and upside down.

PS. You can find the Olearia pattern here.

PPS. A confession? It wasn’t just a case of eighty stitches. Through sheer laziness, this take on the Olearia wafted even further from the pattern than this earlier one. Probably best if you go see what it’s supposed to look like.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

My Creative Space

Today, amongst lots of low level, stressy stuff and time lurching by in giant steps, I spotted an unexpected, teeny window. A fragment of an opportunity that went against every bit of better judgement and I just went and dived in. For the sake of sanity.

No doubt one day I’ll take up therapeutic basketweaving, but in the meantime, small details like this...

and this...

and textures like this...

Ink and fabric and mischief and mess and wiping hands on trousers and a smear of white on a cheek and the soul is light and skipping through imagined florally spring fields, even if there’s still a deadline and I guess at some point we all need to eat.

There wasn’t as much mischief as there could have been. I did refrain from screenprinting directional signage all over the house, (against my own better judgement).

There’s a long-term plan for the collection of enough scrappy bits of fabric squares, layered with a learning curve of printed history, to make up something quilt-like. Although that there presents a whole ’nother learning curve.

Perhaps best aim at basketweaving.

No doubt a crafty type is doing something astonishing or Andy Goldsworthy-esque with basketweaving. Go and see Kirst and she’ll show you all sorts of creative space...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Whale Poo vs Cow Farts vs Silkworms vs Cicadas vs Stinky Vulture Legs

I won’t say I ever predicted a split-second winner decision for that somewhat impromptu giveaway. And even though the prohibition of 91kg+ women wearing shorts while riding horses in Chicago, created much bemusement amongst us bloggy types, I’m afraid there wasn’t enough gore or poo or ‘extraordinary’ for the middle kid adjudicator to come over excited. Sorry, Tanya.

The kid did cull to a short list fairly speedily but the final decision was so carefully considered I near fell asleep.

I’m still not entirely convinced I didn’t manage a micro nap.

Or seven.

Thank goodness for some extraordinary happenings with one of the (leafy) stick insects. Spiky is busy crafting eggs.

At last count, there were twelve, but we think she’s still going (unless it’s constipation). While we’re waiting for the middle kid to make his decision, would you like to know an Extraordinary Fact (or three) about stick insect eggs?

1. The eggs take between two months and two YEARS to hatch. Much like some decision-making processes around here.

2. See that white spot thing at one end of the eggs? That stuff is like gold, or lemon tart, or triple chocolate mud cake to any ant. A hanging-around-in-a-tree stick insect ‘lays’ her eggs by flicking them on to the ground below. Eventually, an ant trundles by, has a EUREKA! moment and hauls it back to the nest. Once there, the white stuff is eaten by the ants and the remainder of the egg is forgotten. Tucked safely in the corner, snug and warm, protected from the elements.

3. Upon finally hatching out of the egg, a baby stick insect looks, smells and behaves precisely like an ant. After a short amount of time hanging about with the ‘in’ anty crowd, the stick insect wanders off to grow stick-like and do hanging about, leaf-munching stuff.

4. Bonus Extraordinary Fact We have two female sticks. There have been no breaking of curfews. No boy sticks were harmed in the making of those eggs.


A decision.

The winning entry for the brown paper package tied up with string containing a few of my favourite things, is...


Clever, revolting and with a mention of poo. No idea what took him so long. Congratulations Ange!


PS. The Jungle Book was correctly guessed by Veri Maz 47 seconds after posting. You speed-of-light typist type, you.

PPS. Thank you to everyone who entered and entertained in one way or another – especially when none of us knew what you were entering to win. I’m working on it. Prize, string-tied packages sent by Friday...

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Great Pickle-Off (Amongst Other Things)

A while ago, Ruby’s Dad sent home three jars of the most wonderful pickle and a few days later, at a kid pick-up, my Mr went and introduced himself as Ruby’s Dad’s New Best Friend. Not long after, Ruby’s Dad hatched a plan for a Pickle-Off. A plot in two parts: Part One involves all-in pickling at their house, Part Two is all about tomato chutney at ours.

After a busy Saturday, I can tell you that Part One was just what the doctor ordered for Sunday. It was a cruisy, relaxed, in-fabulous-company afternoon, involving this:




(would you like to see those stunning, dried-on-racks-in-the-homemade-drying-machine limes again?)


and a bit of this:

(because to be honest, the two dads were the ones critically involved in pickle-craft action. The rest of us were a bit involved in trampoline bouncing, or frog collection, or games of toddler chasey or whatnot):

And voila! An enviable stash of four varieties of tasty, pickle-y delicious:

Then we all ate curry for dinner, of course. A Sunday made up of all kinds of YUM.




As predicted, the visits from friends of the bloggy persuasion and otherwise were the nicest highlights of the market on Saturday. As were the chats with market neighbours. As was hanging out with the Mr: much, much nicer to do a market with someone tall, dark, handsome (and generally excellent) with bonus muscles for carrying stuff. I’m back in Daylesford for the Christmas market on the 27th. If the Mr isn’t able to make it, I’ll attempt to convince my generally excellent mum to do tall, dark and handsome (with bonus muscles for carrying stuff).

Much excitement chez Myrtle and Eunice this fine morn. Against all odds, my thumb appears to have turned the faintest shade of green with the sprouting of the teensiest zinnia-let (I’m entirely positive this is not a weed-let). Of the twenty planted loo rolls, this is the first to sprout it’s head above the parapet. The Middle saw what I was applauding and let out an emphatic – a really emphatic, (like with exclamation marks) AWESOME!! I’m thinking I could do with less ‘exclaim’ and more horticultural respect.

Naturally I shall be torturing all and sundry with blow-by-blow zinnia progress. Blame Susie.

Yesterday was Grandad’s birthday and with bleary, post-market, late-to-bed-early-to-rise-eyes, I crafted an X Marks the Spot magnetic bookmark for the birthdaying bookworm. Not only have I mastered whole minutes of knitting-without-looking, apparently I can also stitch-while-snoozing.

Just because I can and just because I’d be amazed if anyone reached the end of this waffley post at all, the first person to nut out and EMAIL me ( with the correct title of that book above, wins a brown paper package tied up with string, filled with a few of my favourite things. (top tip: click on the image to spot the clues).

Same goes for anyone with an Extraordinary Fact About Anything up their sleeves. Leave a COMMENT containing said Extraordinary Fact About Anything and the Middle Kid will choose a winner tomorrow (Tuesday) evening. May I assure you, the judging process will occur with great and earnest diligence. (top tip: the judging kid is heartily taken with creatures of any description and knows quite some Extraordinary Facts About Anything. Best not hold back).


Friday, November 5, 2010

When I Grow Up...

...I shall compile lists that I will not lose. When I grow up, my refrigerator magnets will be of kid-proof, industrial strength (and I will not very nearly and catastrophically forget kinder orientation day). One day soon, I shall effortlessly conjure sweet-smelling, baked things for lunchboxes and maintain a supply of greens in my vegetable crisper, not of the moldering kind. The Myrtle and Eunice household shall prance about in a continual supply of freshly laundered and perfectly pressed undies (as well as other apparel, including matching socks). There will be no need for the Mr to write notes on my behalf, of the ‘dog ate my homework’ kind, because I shall have crafted birthday presents years in advance. The day I turn grown up, is the day I become guru of the organised: blogging on allocated days, enjoying a nanosecond internet connection and two way, non-lurkery, bloggy communication. I shall sign up for markets willy nilly and raise a sympathetic eyebrow at fellow stallholders who put last minute touches at traffic lights on the way to the Daylesford Makers Market.

Bear with me in the meantime???

PS. If you are within spitting distance of the lovely Daylesford tomorrow, do come and pop by – those random pop-bys are always a veritable highlight. Another highlight, is that the Mr is coming along for the ride. Excitingly, this means we have a WHOLE DAY together just HANGING OUT. Better yet, this means I need not look desperately at anyone randomly popping by. Footloose and fancy free in the loo visiting department, me.